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One Irish author makes shortlist for €100k Dublin Literary Award

Six books are on this year’s shortlist. Previous winners include Anna Burns for Milkman, and Mike McCormack for Solar Bones.

ONE IRISH AUTHOR has made it to the 2021 Dublin Literary Award shortlist. 

The names of the shortlisted titles were announced by Dublin City Council today. The award is the world’s most valuable annual prize for a single work of fiction.

This year’s shortlisted titles are:

  • Apeirogon by Colum McCann (Irish). Published by Bloomsbury Publishing. Nominated by South Dublin Libraries, Ireland.
  • Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo (British). Published by Hamish Hamilton Ltd. and Penguin Books Ltd. Nominated by libraries in Berlin, Germany and Waterford, Ireland.
  • Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli (Mexican). Published by Alfred A Knopf and 4th Estate. Nominated by Vila de Gràcia Library, Barcelona, Spain.
  • Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor (Mexican). Translated from the Spanish by Sophie Hughes. Published by Fitzcarraldo Editions. Nominated by libraries in Canada, Mexico, and the USA.
  • On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong (Vietnamese-American). Published by Jonathan Cape and Vintage. Nominated by libraries in Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the USA.
  • The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead (American). Published by Little Brown Book Group and Doubleday. Nominated by libraries in Belgium, and the USA.

McCann previously won the award in 2011, for his novel Let The Great World Spin.

This is the 26th year of the prestigious award, which will see the overall winner receiving €100,000. If the book has been translated, the author receives €75,000 and the translator receives €25,000.

What makes the award even more interesting is that the nominations are chosen by librarians and readers from libraries around the world.

This year’s shortlist includes a novel in translation, an English language debut and a first-time novelist; the authors are three women and three men who come from Ireland, Mexico, the UK and the USA.

The winner of this year’s Dublin Literary Award will be announced by its Patron, Lord
Mayor Hazel Chu on Thursday 20 May, as part of the opening day programme of International Literature Festival Dublin (ILFDublin), which is also funded by Dublin City Council.

Chu, said: Literature time and again has one objective, and that is to explore the human condition, teaching us something new about others, and ourselves. These are powerful and timely stories set in both familiar and unfamiliar countries and cultures. I urge everyone to read as many of these thought-provoking books as you can.”

The international panel of judges who will select the winner, features Jan Carson, a writer and community arts facilitator based in Belfast; David James Karashima, an author, translator, and associate professor of creative writing at Waseda University in Tokyo; Lebanese-born, Dr Rita Sakr who lectures in Postcolonial and Global Literatures at Maynooth University; Dr Martín Veiga, a Cork-based Galician poet, translator, and academic who lectures in Hispanic Studies at University College Cork, and Enda Wyley, an Irish poet, author, and teacher who has published six collections of poetry.

The non-voting Chairperson is Professor Chris Morash, the Seamus Heaney Professor of Irish Writing at Trinity College Dublin.

There will also be a podcast series in association with the ILF accompanying this year’s award, which will be hosted by Maeve Higgins, bestselling Irish writer, comedian, podcaster and contributing writer for The New York Times, and Jessica Traynor, Irish writer, dramaturg and creative writing teacher.

Maeve Higgins and Jessica Traynor will take listeners inside the shortlisted novels and speak exclusively to the authors and translator in contention for the award.

Want to get your hands on the shortlisted (and longlisted) books? They’ll be available for readers to borrow from Dublin’s public libraries and public libraries around Ireland when libraries reopen.

But don’t worry – during Level 5 COVID-19 restrictions, you can borrow some of the longlisted titles as eBooks and eAudiobooks on the free Borrowbox app, which is available to all public library users.

The longlist of 49 titles can be viewed on the award website at

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